The Santas of Vigilance were out in force last night. They
ruled the city of New York. They smashed lumps of coal in
people's hearts and brought a moment of joy of happiness to all who
saw them. How can we bring the Santa of Vigilance to our
children and loved ones each and every day? What gifts can
we give those we love to remind them that Hope and Joy thrive?
14, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 823
Santa Rules The Night With His
Reindeer of Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Dec. 13, 2003--
Santa rules the streets of New York City. At
least, he did last night.
Walking east on Houston last night, a major
division between the East Village and Lower Manhattan, my wife and I
literally bumped into a herd of wandering Santas and a gaggle of
A flood of
Santas crossed the street at Houston and First Avenue in front of
my wife and me
New York is a wondrous place where you
might turn a corner and bump into Osama bin Laden having coffee at an
outdoor Starbucks, or be jostled in the subway by Martin Sheen, who
plays the President in the t.v. series West Wing, hurrying to
get to the Catholic Worker to help out spooning soup to the homeless.
So it wasn't surprising to see a flood of
Santas crossing the street at Houston and First Avenue. There
were perhaps 200 of them, dressed in red and white Santa and elf
Some were busy chatting on cell phones,
others ferried cups of hot coffee, and a few had curious brown bags
hiding the label of the bottle they were sipping from.
The Santa flow was very joyous,
well-mannered. I looked upon them as a "Herd of Santa's
Vigilance," a symbol of the joy Holiday seasons offer those of us who
may think Terrorism shadows the sunlight of the spirit.
Most of them were young men and
women, early twenties and thirties. They were wandering,
We asked a couple of them where they
were heading and what they were doing. It seems each year they
get together and virtually "graze" the city, moving here and there at
virtual random with no particular plan except to illustrate a "body of
We caught them as they were
entering the subway, en route to Washington Square Park and then,
according to some of the navigators, possibly shuttling up to 42nd
Street, the Crossroads of the World.
They weren't far from Ground Zero.
I thought of the Sentinels of Vigilance hovering over the World Trade
Center on this cold, wintry night. I was sure they were
smiling at the young people out to bring smiles and warmth to
whomever's eyes feasted upon their collective gaiety.
brought smiles and warmth to those whose eyes feasted upon their
Vigilance is often a frame of mind.
It isn't always about "hunting" down the "bad" as much as it is about
seeking out the "good" in humanity. Vigilance requires we
see the positive in ourselves and others, as well as being alert to
the negatives, to the booby traps and pitfalls of our own defects.
It is easy for any of us to take our
mistakes in life, our errors, our faults, and whip ourselves with them
as though they ruled us for eternity. Some people wallow
in the quagmire of their human faults, looking in the mirror and
seeing only the cracks and crevices of their shortcomings or
magnifying their guilt and shame, or their bitterness, resentments,
angers, frustrations and failings.
The Beast of Terror thrives on such thoughts,
TerrorThoughts for sure, and gobbles them up as the hungry child might
a dish of delicious ice cream.
A Holiday time such as Christmas helps to drive
away the Beast of Self Terror. It reminds us for a brief
stitch in time that perhaps someone out there--despite our weaknesses
at perfection--might love us no matter what we look like, how we act,
whether we think well of ourselves or not.
The Santas of
Vigilance helped drive away the Beast of Terror
I got those vibrations from the Santas of
Vigilance last night.
I always get them from the Sentinels of
I am reminded daily by writing about Vigilance
that it begins with an attitude of service to the future generations.
How can I be of service today to the Children's Children's Children?
One way I can do that is by looking to the hope
of the future, to its magical beauty, to its boundless treasures that
lie unopened yet for countless children who take the gift of liberty
and freedom of thought into action, and strive to improve the world
for their children.
That is, without doubt, a lofty ideal.
Many of us get
beaten into ruts shackled by the yoke of our own oppression
Many of us get beaten into ruts and feel we are
stuck in them, forced to plod along like the plough horse forever
shackled by the yoke of our own oppression, our own self-delivered
tyranny and hopelessness that we will never "be important," never
"break the bonds of servitude" of what we have been, what we
think we can never be and believe we
For many, the "hope" of life dies early in life
when, after many attempts to "succeed" in life and love, only routine
and unhappiness prevail. Each day is a matter of trudging
through the same routine, experiencing the same head banging.
The bills always exceed the income, the problems
always shadow the solutions, the darkness always seems to blanket the
This is Terrorism at its most best.
It snuffs the joy of life. It exhausts the flame of hope and
contaminates joy with quiet suffering.
"Oh, I wish I had... Oh, I should've
been.... Oh, if only...."
Then, amidst this cacophony of calamitous
thoughts, in marches a herd of Santas. Whatever one might
have been thinking at the moment about the fungal side of life is
instantly changed by the bright smiles and bold red and white
of coal for the naughty are replaced with snowflakes of happiness
That dark, ugly lump of coal growing in the soul is smashed, replaced
with snowflakes of happiness, rainbows of light, and a tingling of
contentment that maybe, just maybe, things aren't as bad as they might
Our "quiet moments of desperation"
give way to "joyous moments of hope." The Santas remind
us of the child within.
They heave-ho at the rocks and
burdens weighing down the soul and free it to levitate for a moment,
to return to a state of innocence, to a land where peace and
prosperity rule, and where the horror of waiting for the other shoe to
drop, or the next disaster to occur is washed by the tides far out to
sea where it can be neither seen nor heard.
wins all our hearts and returns us to our childhood lands of
Saint Nicolas wins all our
hearts, for we forget that we were first children of dreams and
imaginations long before we fell victim to the Terrorism of drudgery
and dismay. We are whisked back to the enchanted
land of child's fantasy that we are loved, cared for, watched over,
cuddled, cooed, hugged and protected from all the arrows that life
slings in our direction.
I felt that sensation last
night as not one or two, but a hundred times that amount of Santas
poured toward me and massed on the corner as they threaded down the
subway, laughing, smiling, emitting a radiance of cheer and hope that
any special holiday designed for children o the "inner child" of
others stirs in the most restive of
I thought about the
Parents of Vigilance being Santas of Vigilance all year long.
I thought of them giving their children the gift of their love and
care each and every day, not just during the official holiday.
What if, I thought, each
morning the child awoke to Mom and Dad dressed as Santa, and when
their eyes pried open, their great gift of the day was a giant hug and
the words: "I love you!"
The Family of
Vigilance sings around the Tree of Vigilance with presents of
Courage, Conviction and Right Actions
And, in the evening, the family
sat around a Tree of Vigilance with shiny lights and tinsel and sang
songs and wrapped presents, each containing some Courage, Conviction
and Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children. These
presents would be tucked under the tree each night and, upon
awakening, the children would open them and be given added reasons
that day to find worth and value in a world that often falls
Complacent to the need a child has to ward off Fear, Intimidation and
Yes, I thought, the
Santas of Vigilance ruled the night. And, if one
subscribes to being a Parent of Vigilance, the Santas of Vigilance
can rule every night in their household.
I went home feeling like
a child. I had a present from the night.
The present of hope.